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Reed, MK & Dalrymple, Farel – Palefire




Hey wait a minute, I thought that title looked familiar! MK wrote and drew this story years ago, probably with a few changes, under a series of mini comics called Pale Fire. Now it’s drawn by Farel Dalrymple and called Palefire. In case you hang out at the oddest/best bar in the world, there’s a trivia question answered for you. I looked back at a few pages I posted in older reviews and the dialogue is almost identical. So if this is basically a remake of a comic that’s already out there (if out of print), is it worth checking out? Assuming you’re one of the dozens (or hundreds; I’m just going with the average mini comic audience size) of people who have the entire original story, yes it is. Because Farel Dalrymple is the artist, and he can do amazing things with facial expressions. And MK writes some of the most realistic dialogue in comics. Put those two things together and you have a hell of a powerful comic. Oh right, I haven’t even told you what it’s about yet. It’s about a high school girl named Alison who has a crush on a kid who is known around school as a firebug, as a kid who blew up the hand of his own brother with fireworks. Naturally, her mom doesn’t care for this idea, but instead of stating that fact as a stereotypical parent who finally gives an ultimatum before being ignored completely, MK is able to write all of these people as humans with recognizable motivations. That doesn’t sound like a strange thing, but as somebody who reads a whole bunch of comics/books, the teenage kid/parent/sibling dynamic is difficult to get sounding natural, and MK nails it. Anyway, Alison meets up with this firebug at a party (along with three other potential suitors who each underwhelm her in different ways), we get to see various interactions with these people, and finally we get to the image from the cover: Alison in a secluded spot with the firebug, with him going off into the woods with a can of gasoline. That’s about as close to a spoiler as I care to get, but this is one of those comics that just makes me happy. Mostly because it’s a great comic by itself and needs no other qualifications, but also because I’ve been reading minis from MK for over a decade now and this reads like a natural evolution of her talents, and the high point of her work. For now, I should add, because I only see bigger and better things in her future. Especially if she’s sticking to just writing these days, as that’s bound to cut down on production time. That’s how all that works, right? Never any issues with artists not getting the pages in on time? Yep, that’s what I thought. $12


Reed, M.K. – Pale Fire #1


Pale Fire #1

Hooray for a new comic from MK! Before I get started on this one, she’s put together the whole Catfight story (which I’ll ramble about one of these days) for $10 on her website. This is the first half of her Pale Fire story, which (so far) is about a young lady who wants to try and date a guy who everybody says is crazy. We hear stories about how he blew his younger brother’s hand off and torched a textbook, although it’s still hard to tell what’s true and what’s just urban legend, which I’m guessing is why there’s a second issue. Good stuff again, although if you have some sort of phobia about whippersnappers standing around and talking at a party you might want to avoid this, you weirdo…

Reed, M.K. – Pale Fire



Pale Fire

Hey look, I finally got around to getting the collected version of this story.  Scrollers should note that I had the first issue years ago and, thanks to Poopsheet, eventually got around to getting the collected edition.  And it’s, well, a great story.  This is about a young woman named Alison who’s getting together at a party with a young man who has a reputation as a firebug and a bit of a crazy person (Darren).  Alison, of course, can see none of this, although she seems level-headed about everything else.  More details can be found in my review of the first issue, I’ll just pick up when they finally do get to the party.  Neither of them likes parties so they end up outside, where another boy from the party confronts the firebug and starts a typical drunken fight (typical because no punches are thrown).  They leave the party because Darren has something to show her, and any more information than that would be telling.  Alison’s slow realization of just who she’s dealing with is a revelation, and M.K. manages to pull it off while keeping everybody in the story fully human.  No cartoon villains, no ditzy girls falling for the dangerous guy, no shortcuts at all.  She earns that ending, and at the end of the day it’s just a great comic.  I don’t see this available at her website, but there’s that Poopsheet place I mentioned before, and she does have other things there if you’re curious.  No price, but it’s hefty… $8?